Twitter in India today is mostly a platform to preen for loud Delhi gasbags—or a signalling system for has-beens trying desperately to stay on the right side of Tongue Parivar.
Good journalism, therefore, gets subsumed by those who shout, scream and shriek—and then shout, scream and shriek some more when somebody, usually another gasbag, retweets them.
The biggest stories of the Narendra Modi era—Demonetisation and the Rafale deal—have produced ground breaking stuff from two self-effacing men, both Malayalees, and both not journalists.
First, James Wilson, a civil engineer, who sitting in Kerala, explicated #DeMo with far greater clarity than any Bombay-Delhi-Calcutta business journalist.
And now, Ravi Nair, to whom goes the singular credit of giving the #RafaleDeal the necessary throttle and boost before Rahul Gandhi and the rest of the mainstream media jumped in.
Nair, 44, says he started digging into Rafale after he heard somebody uncritically exclaim “Bahut khoob kiya” upon reading news about the deal.
He has so far produced over 40 stories and analyses for various outlets, including a cover story for Frontline, including perhaps a book soon. Nair says his first story was turned down by many till ‘Janta ka Reporter‘ accepted it.
Several other journalists have since reported on the Rafale deal but few have consistently stayed on it like Nair who, tellingly, has not called it a “scam” yet.
J. Gopikrishnan of The Pioneer played a pivotal role in reporting the various strands of the 2G Scam which brought down the Manmohan Singh government.
Is his statemate Nair poised for an encore?
Photograph: couresy The Leaflet